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Illinois State University Will Welcome Students Back to Campus in the Fall

The university does not plan to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students to return back to campus


NORMAL, IL — Illinois State University will welcome students back to campus in the fall with a new type of test for them to take, but this one will be optional.

The university does not plan to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students to return back to campus, despite other Illinois schools mandating inoculation if a student plans to live or take classes on campus property.

Instead, ISU will require students who do not provide evidence of vaccination against coronavirus to participate in an on-campus COVID-19 testing program. School officials did not provide details on how often they would request students get tested or how they’ll track their positivity status.

“We envision a fall semester on a traditional residential campus,” school leadership wrote in a statement, “with students receiving face-to-face instruction as well as some courses offered in alternative formats; students living in the residence halls, university apartments, and adjacent off-campus apartments; students actively engaged on campus using university facilities to study, recreate, dine, and engage with fellow students, faculty and staff.”

If one of the widely available COVID-19 vaccinations receive full Food and Drug Administration approval, a step above emergency use approval, ISU said it might consider requiring students to be vaccinated.

ISU is also not requiring faculty or staff to be vaccinated but said employees would be “strongly encouraged” to take part in the testing program if they have not received a vaccine, according to a statement from the university.

Testing will be free of charge. The public university said they are following guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health. If the IDPH or governor’s office mandate vaccines in schools, the university announced it would follow.

Other moves toward normalcy this fall include the resumption of in-person meetings, dining centers, and no more capacity limits at the Student Fitness Center.

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